Maxwell faced plenty of questions three weeks ago when he was forced to step in for injured cornerback Brandon Browner and suspended cornerback Walter Thurmond. Thomas pulled Maxwell aside and told him this was his moment, and he knew Maxwell would seize it.
“Ask him,” Thomas said. “Go ask him. I guarantee he’ll tell you exactly what I’m saying. It’s crazy because you could see it. All he needed was confidence. Now he’s got it.”
Maxwell, in his third year, confirmed Thomas’ recollection. “I guess he felt like I was there,” Maxwell said, “and he had confidence in me.”
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Maxwell has responded with three interceptions in three games, including two in Seattle’s 23-0 win Sunday against the Giants. They are the first three interceptions of his career.
Maxwell played his best game against the Giants. He knew they were going to test him often because he’s the least acclaimed member of Seattle’s secondary.
“They came out the first play and threw at me,” Maxwell said. “So, yeah, they were coming at me.”
With less than a minute to play in the first half, Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw a deep pass down the sideline, but Maxwell stayed with receiver Victor Cruz, turned just before the ball arrived and plucked it out of the air.
Later in the game, Manning tried to hit Hakeem Nicks on a crossing route over the middle. The throw was a little behind, and Maxwell grabbed it for his second interception.
“He’s not just picking off go routes,” Thomas said. “He’s taking everything away.”
Maxwell’s play lately reminds Thomas of another guy who got his shot and took advantage.
Two years ago, Richard Sherman was just a fifth-round cornerback who had yet to make himself known. But he started the final 10 games that year after Thurmond and Marcus Trufant went down with injuries. He has been starting ever since.
“It’s just exciting to see Maxwell play,” Thomas said. ‘I told him like I told Sherm before he took off: ‘Watch. You’re going to take off just because it’s in you.’ ”
Jayson Jenks: 206-464-8277 or firstname.lastname@example.org